New 2019 Novel Coronavirus: Is There Really a Need to Panic?
When news broke out of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus, saying that it caused quite the stir would be an understatement.
The virus, also known as 2019-NCov or COVID-19, was first discovered in the province of Wuhan, China. And according to the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control, as of February 13, there have been 60,330 reported cases of infected patients worldwide, including 1,369 deaths. On January 30, WHO declared the outbreak as a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC).
Several countries have started implementing precautions such as travel bans and extra checkpoints in airports to ensure public safety.
With the rise of awareness and heightened media coverage of the latest coronavirus, public concern has also started to grow stronger. And with this, several different versions of the story have also started to spread.
What is essential to note is that aside from the widely known NCov virus that has been covered on almost every news platform, there are many types of Coronaviruses. One was the SARS coronavirus that broke out in 2004. Some types would even cause the common cold.
The 2019-NCov displays flu-like symptoms such as fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. And on more serious cases, pneumonia. The virus is spread through respiratory emissions and is easily transmitted in close range. Signs usually appear 2 to 14 days after transmission.
One thing that could potentially be as dangerous as the spreading of the virus itself is the spreading of false information. Not only does it pose danger with regards to public health, but it is also said to cultivate a culture of xenophobia and racism against the Asian community. Amidst the sea of incorrect data and fake news is also the wave after wave of negative comments especially aimed towards the Chinese population.
Especially in this digital age, when information can be spread with just a single click when the truth can so easily be twisted, people need to be more vigilant than ever. It is important to be aware and, more importantly, be properly educated. Giving into paranoia and misinformed notions will do more harm than good.
The greatest solution each person could do would be to practice preventive measures such as regularly washing your hands, covering mouth and nose when sneezing or coughing, avoid touching your face, avoid contact with sick people, and wearing a face mask if you are showing symptoms of the illness. It is better to be part of the solution than to contribute to the problem.
Which begs the question, in these troubling times wherein global public health is under threat: do we need all this hate? Do we need to spiral into an even cause unnecessary panic? Or do we need solutions?
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